Fields Medalist favors high-school graduation exam abolishment

Last update: 11:00 | 10/08/2014

VietNamNet Bridge – Fields Medalist Professor Ngo Bao Chau has supported abolishing high-school graduation exams due to many irregularities rather than suspending university entrance exams.

Chau, the first Vietnamese to win Fields Medal in mathematics in 2010, pointed out in an interview with local media that many reasons for a stop to the high-school graduation exams. These exams cost a lot of money and the average ratio of graduates is always higher year after year. This makes the public skeptical about the results of such exams.

There is no value in organizing the exams when the result is higher than usual. Chau emphasized the main purpose of the high-school graduation exams is to evaluate students as well as teaching quality.

Changes should be made to replace the way the high-school graduation exams have been organized in the past years. Chau supported Vietnam to maintain the entrance exams for tertiary institutions and to find ways to make the quality of these exams better rather than abolishing them.

Responding to the Ministry of Education and Training’s intention to organize a national exam for all high-school students instead of arranging high-school graduation and university entrance exams, Chau said this should be pondered, particularly in terms of organizational costs, quality and the quality of students in different regions.

Chau said students in Hanoi, HCMC and other major cities have more favorable studying conditions than their counterparts in other parts of the country. Therefore, if a national exam is organized for all the students and the result is the foundation to select students for universities, the students in rural areas will be placed in a disadvantageous position.

The quality of university entrance exams is still ensured, and if a national exam comes into existence, tertiary educational institutions will be deprived of their legitimate right to enroll students meeting their criteria. For this reason, educators need to consider carefully whether exams should be rearranged or not.  

Chau said that theoretically, a national exam is sound as it has been applied in many countries. In France, there are two exams for 11th and 12th graders and universities count on their marks to decide their enrollments. The students who pass these exams will be able to enter universities and colleges.

However, it is the common exams that undermine the quality of students at tertiary educational institutions as candidates are not selected via the exams the universities hold and the fact that these schools lose their right to choose the students they want.   

To follow the same path of France and other nations is the choice of the Ministry of Education and Training, Chau said.

The qualification of Vietnamese high-school students is nearly the same to that of their peers elsewhere in the world. But, Chau said teaching quality at universities in Vietnam is a major concern as graduates of Vietnamese universities are far behind their global counterparts in terms of soft skills and creativity.


Professor Ngo Bao Chau, high-school graduation exams, university entrance exams, choose the students